Standout Student: Cooper’s John Brownell
John Brownell is a theater kid. A friend talked him into trying out for a production in middle school and he’s been on stage, or near it, ever since.
“I’m passionate about the arts,” said Brownell, who is a senior at Cooper High School. “It’s a really cool experience to take a break and come together with people who are passionate about it and experience it together.”
Brownell has graced the stage at Cooper High School in productions like “Ragtime” and “Hairspray.”
Theater director Gretchen Wurzer-Palm has nothing but high praise for Brownell. She says he distinguished himself from his classmates the moment he walked into class as a freshman.
“He would come to rehearsals as a baby freshman with highlighters and pencils. He was very prepared,” said Wurzer-Palm. “Then, the next day at rehearsal if he’d been doing something, he had it memorized and the dance number licked.”
Wurzer-Palm says it’s not only his professionalism, but his push for perfection that causes him to be leader to his peers.
“He wants to be perfect every single time, which I think is a rare quality for a student his age,” said Wurzer-Palm. “Passing is not good enough for John. It never has been. It never will be. He needs to go above and beyond and the quality of his work is just excellent. Always.”
Brownell Selected for All-State Choir
This last summer, John Brownell attended the Minnesota All-State choir, an honor for which he was selected. The camp featured professionals mentoring high school students with their craft.
“We got to spend a lot of time working on our own music. But we got to hear what other people were doing,” said Brownell. “It was a really cool experience.”
CCX News first heard from Brownell and his love for music in a feature about the International Baccalaureate program at Cooper. See that story and hear him sing here.
John Brownell Focused on College
As he finishes up his senior year at Cooper, Brownell is spending most of his academic career as a PSEO student, which means he’s taking classes for college credit. Brownell is in choir class at Cooper. But is also earning college credit for calculus, chemistry, architecture history and English through North Hennepin Community College.
While Brownell hopes to always be involved in community theater, he’s taking a different path in college. He hopes to study architecture. Brownell says he’s been accepted into three universities. He’s got a tough choice ahead of him, with acceptances from the University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh or Virginia Tech.